Saturday, 11 January 2014

Parda- A Conscious Choice


Wisdom spoken by Muhammad Ali about the virtue of hijab and why a muslim woman should wear it, has been narrated by his daughter in her book.

Though I had never before worn revealing clothing while in my father’s presence but once, claimed Hana, daughter of great Muhammad Ali. As young girls, we went to see our father in hotel, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged as many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then, he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

And this is how exactly Allah describes women in Surah Al Rehman. The women in Jannah will be chaste with lower gaze, covered and accommodated in tents and not a man or jinn would have touched them like pearls and rubies. Read the following verses :-

فِيهِنَّ خَيْرَاتٌ حِسَانٌ ﴿55:70﴾

(55:70) In the midst of these will be maidens, good and comely.

حُورٌ مَقْصُورَاتٌ فِي الْخِيَامِ ﴿55:72﴾

(55:72) There shall be maidens sheltered in tents.  

فِيهِنَّ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنْسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلَا جَانٌّ ﴿55:56﴾

(55:56) In the midst of these shall be maidens with modest, restrained glances; maidens whom no man or jinn has ever touched before.

كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ ﴿55:58﴾
(55:58) Lovely as rubies and pearls. 

This is how Allah is enticing man with the best of women. Even the atmosphere in Jannah would not be a beach party. But all the measures of decency will be observed. Obviously, it makes all the more sense because those who will finally make it to Jannah must have observed the limits of decency in their day. Their hearts must be attuned to the Divine frequency. Nothing should come as a surprise to them. The chosen. The Lucky.

Now lets turn our attention to this the survey conducted in different Muslim countries.

Most heartening to see that the numbers on both extremes ie woman 1 and 6 are the lowest and towards centre they increase and the highest recognition is given to woman 4 and 5. Simple conclusion is that majority of Muslims have opted for a balanced approach to parda precisely in line with the dictates of the religion which advocates balance in every aspect of life.

Parda is not an imposition. It has to be a conscious logical choice. Humanity has evolved from nothing to intellectual heights and observance of parda is pinnacle of human intellect. We cannot really afford to start reducing clothes on our bodies and go back to dark ages. Wearing skimpy obscene clothing in the garb of fashion is regressive not progressive. It is against the spirit of human intellectual evolution. Parda does not take anything away from a woman; it only adds value to her appearance. Observing parda has inbuilt advantages of protection and respect.

Atheist, secular, non-Muslims and Christian Judaists will continue to mock this finest attribute of Muslim identity. They will always cast aspersions by throwing cards like why women should be wrapped like candies. Like covered women commit more felonies than uncovered. Like its all about intent and not appearance. But these are all tools of distraction. They are unfortunate that they do not accept and follow the 'Manual' for code of conduct that we follow. You have to listen to the Creator, women are precious like pearls if they observe parda and keep their gaze low. May Allah be our Guide.  

“The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman.” (Sahih Muslm)